Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province, is the southern terminus of the ancient Grand Canal waterway, which originates in Beijing. Its West Lake, celebrated by poets and artists since the 9th century, encompasses islands reachable by boat, temples, pavilions, gardens, and arched bridges. On its south bank is 5-story Leifeng Pagoda, a modern reconstruction of a structure built in 975 A.D.
West of the lake in the Wulin Mountains, Lingyin Temple or Temple of Soul’s Retreat is a complex featuring a 25m-high gilded Buddha in its Grand Hall. On the surrounding grounds, the limestone grottoes of Feilai Peak display rock carvings from as early as the 10th century, including a famous Laughing Buddha. A trail ascends North Peak Mountain, which is topped by the 1,600-year-old Lingshun Temple or Temple of Wealth. The area is known for its tea and silk, with national tea and silk museums. Southwest of town, Longjing green tea leaves grow on terraces around Longjing village.